Weekly Columns
A vet’s learning experience PDF Print E-mail


By Byron Higgin, Mascot Publisher

byronmugNot long ago I was teaching fifth graders about the Vietnam war.
“How many of you ever heard of Vietnam,” I said.
About six of the 40 hands went up.
So I began. As I started telling about my combat days, a little girl in the back of the room shyly raised her hand.
I recognized her so she stood up and quickly said, “Did you ever shoot anybody?”
I’d prepared myself for this speech so, as the little girl plunked herself down on her chair and disappeared, I said, “Not that I know, but we did shoot as a group sometimes.”
That wasn’t the answer she wanted. But it’s the only one I had.
Then I began to think to myself. How do you tell a little girl what war is really all about?
How do you tell her how you have to come to peace with death ... how you have to be ready to die for your best friend ... how you watch as a buddy closes his eyes on this earth for the last time.
The world has taught kids to see and hear about grief in the movies. But are they prepared to know what really happens in war?
The little girl made me think about the realities of war. Maybe, when she’s older she’ll understand the price of freedom, which never will be free.

LAUGH A LITTLE:  In light of Sunday’s Packer-Viking game, here’s a Packer joke.
There was a Packers fan with a really bad seat at Lambeau. Looking with his binoculars, he spotted an empty seat on the 50-yard line. Thinking to himself, "What a waste." He made his way down to the empty seat.
When he arrived at the seat, he asked the man sitting next to it, "Is this seat taken?" The man replied, "This was my wife's seat. She passed away. She was a big Packers fan." The other man replied,"I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. May I ask why you didn't give the ticket to a friend or a relative?"
The man replied, "They're all at the funeral."

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: As my Ole Pappy used to say, “You can’t cross an ocean by standing and staring at the water.”
Now Ole Pappy wasn’t one to jump into things quickly, but he knew the benefit of diving in when he wanted to get to the other side. Thanks Ole Pappy!

A grandmother's emotions at child birth PDF Print E-mail


By Gale Van Vooren, Mascot Editor

Emotions can go up and down very quickly.
Think of the times you have been scared, hopeful, sad, very happy.
Each emotion can be like a roller-coaster ride from one hill and valley to the next.  
We have been waiting for the arrival of a new baby in our family. It has been an exciting time and one of many reflections.
Having a baby and waiting for a baby are two entirely different things. And I have been weighing the differences these past weeks.
Most women have their babies at a younger age. My husband (the better half) and I were very young, early 20’s, when we began raising our family.
We took some of the classes that were offered, but back in those days, there weren’t the extended opportunities that there are now.
I read more books then went to classes, and there just isn’t enough reality in the books. I wasn’t fully prepared when I went into my first delivery.
At that time, my husband was a smoker, and he decided it was time to quit. Well, my delivery was so long and he got so nervous, the smoking habit was continued — and he loved blaming me for it.
You must remember that this is forty years ago now, and at that time, young fathers were mainly kept out of the delivery room.
They were allowed, and encouraged, to be in the preliminaries - but when it came for game time — they were out of there! My, how I would have loved to have his support during those times.
All of that drama, all of that hard work, and all of that  joy came flooding back this week as we waited for the news of our oldest son and his wife’s delivery.
It seems to have been a long nine months with the last weeks seeming years long.
I had my own type of “nesting” at home, as I made some

casseroles, cookies and other goodies to take to the family
to make their first at-home days easier.
That time is so special as Mom and Dad become acquainted with the new little person they have welcomed into their lives.
While having a baby is a lot of work, the joy at the end of the struggle is something that no one can fully comprehend until they have actually been there.
The creation of a new human being, and their total dependence becomes an all-encompassing event.
And at the end of this trail, my husband and I welcomed             
Josie Irene into the world on Wednesday, October 21.
She was born at 9:26 p.m. at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina and weighed 9 pounds 11 ounces at birth, while being 23 inches long. She is the first child of Brett and Katie (Lawrence) VanVooren of Minneapolis.
Maternal grandparents, Gene and June Lawrence of Detroit Lakes, were also on hand to welcome the new arrival as well as we paternal grandparents.  
Being a grandparent is just a delight, as we enjoy the highs and lows of raising children, and being there as a support system for our young parents.
This makes me think of that saying that goes something like this: “If I’d known how much fun it was to be a grandparent, I would have had the grandchildren first.”

H1N1 is here, don't neglect your shots PDF Print E-mail


By Byron Higgin
Mascot Publisher

The lady next to me at the Camden Conference Cross Country meet spoke freely.
“My daughter was supposed to run here today but she’s home sick with the flu,” she said.
I asked, “Not the H1N1 I hope,” I said. She shook her head, “yes”.
Sometimes we tend to stick our heads in the sand and pretend the things happening around us can’t affect us.
But the fact is, three more Minnesota residents have died from complications due to infection from H1N1 novel influenca virus.
The deaths occurred in Martin, Steel and Freeborn Counties — hardly far away from us.
“We are sad to report these deaths and we extend our sympathies to the families and loved ones,” said Dr. Sanne Magnan, Minnesota Commis-sioner of Health.
The facts themselves are startling.
There have been 611 hospitalized cases. Over 230 schools reported last week that either five percent of their students were absent in elementary school due to the flu-like illness.
Dr. Ruth Lynfield, state epidemiologist for the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) issued a most startling pronouncement.
“We continue to follow this pandemic closely and although we are seeing widespread infection due to H1N1 influenza, we are not seeing a change in the severity of the disease.”
You’ve heard it before, but if you haven’t taken necessary steps, now would be the time.
Best precautions include:
•Get vaccinated. (We know there’s not enough yet, but when it’s available, get it).
•Stay home from school or work and don’t spread your illness.
•Employers should encourage employees to stay home when sick.
•Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze.
•Limit your contact with others.
•Clean your hands frequently. Use soap and water and wash after preparing food or touching yourself.
•Take enough fluids when sick.
•Contact your health care provider.
If your have more questions contact the Minnesota FluLine at 866-4655.
Many people have been doing so and calls to the FluLine have been “very heavy.” As of Friday there were 2,100 calls. “This is the first service of this kind in the country,” said Craig Acomb, assistant Comissioner of Health.”

Call brought a sad message PDF Print E-mail


By Byron Higgin, Mascot Publisher

The message on my phone machine didn’t sound good. So I returned it as soon as I could.
A Roy DeMoss from Ames, IA was on the other end of line and his months of searching had finally paid off.
He’d been looking for a Byron J. Higgin and a google search finally told him I was in Minneota.
But the news he brought was sad. “My brother, your friend Gary “Doc” DeMoss passed away last March,” said brother Roy.
We all lose friends and the older we get, the more we lose them.
But this was different.
Gary, or “Doc” as we called him, was not only my medic, but my friend in Vietnam.
We suffered and cried through the bad times together. We laughed and supported each other through the good times.
Once on our island outpost we were suddenly awakened by  the noise of choppers. Big gun boats began to arrive and a lot of noise made the tiny island feel as though it was about to explode.
“Wounded, we’ve got wounded,” someone yelled. Doc DeMoss was up and running at the sound of those words and I was running right after him. We were trained to help if we could.
Doc was a medic and it was his job.
I watched him as he repaired our boys the best he could, then put them on a helicopter for an evacuation hospital.
He’d done all he could and he held his head up as he walked away.
That night, in the privacy of our tent, Gary “Doc” DeMoss cried.
“I couldn’t do enough for them,” he sobbed, upon hearing some of them had died.
He took it personal. I held him and I cried with him.
Now, Doc is gone.
There was no way he could hold off the cancer that destroyed his bones, and he died.
I cried again. This time because I’d lost a friend.
And also, because I can still see him crying in the shadow of the night.

•The Minneota American Legion will hold a Flag Burning Ceremony behind the American Legion building on Saturday, November 14.
The Legion and VFW traditionally burn tattered and worn American Flags.
•A “Golden Opportunity,”  to see and hear about the good old days will come this week when Kay Drown talks about the times of, “The Hat Ladies,” at the Big Store in Minneota on Thursday, October 29. Drown will take and show the hat collection and other items from 2 -3 p.m.
•The Minneota Lions club is still part of the Lions Club fight against diabetes and they recently donated $100 to the cause.
•Power Rangers, princesses and some pretty scary monsters are about to come your way.
Across the nation there will be 36 million children ages five to 13 trick or treating on Halloween.
The Allstate Insurance Health World and National Safety Council says the best ways to insure that are:
•Supervise kids under 12.
•Travel only in familiar areas.
•Stop only at places well lit.
•Drivers should watch for kids darting out between cars.
•Dress children in fire-retardant costumes.
•Keep costumes hemed.
•Use facial makeup instead of masks so the child’s view isn’t obstructed.

LAUGH A LITTLE:  You've been computer programming too long:
•When asked about a bus schedule, you wonder if it is 16 or 32 bits.
•When you’re reading a book and look for the space bar to get to the next page.
•When you get in the elevator and double-press the button for the floor you want.
•When not only do you check your email more often than your paper mail, but you remember your {network address} faster than your postal one.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: As My Ole Pappy used to say, “Retirement ... It’s a time when you work harder than you did when you were working, because everyone thinks you don’t have anything to do and they ask you to do everything for them.”
Ole Pappy retired and was never so busy. I guess he had it figured out.

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